How to build a Product Roadmap in 10 steps
You’ve heard it, PM is intersection of UX, Engineering and Business in Venn diagram. Below diagram shows the information flow among three respective axes.
- It first comes from the User / Market after collecting info on pains & use cases. It is done through a User research.
ProTip. Have a stakeholder meeting, mention about discoveries / upcoming features to them. Meeting 1 / 3.
2. Collected Epics are breaken down to Stories -> Product backlog item / tasks and grouped into Features.
3. Next, Features are assessed for their Impact. They are screened vs. Mission of the company and Objectives and key results (OKRs) for the product. Then placed on the Business axe (vertical).
4. Then you work with the Dev team to assess the technical effort to deliver the Feature. The initial sizing is based on t-shirt metric: S, M, L, XL to put those features into the above Impact — Effort matrix.
5. Then PMs select the Features in below green-to-yellow areas and write down product specs (product requirements) for the detailed effort assessment by the Dev team. This may move the features location on the matrix. PM double checks to ensure it’s in the green-to-yellow area.
6. PM runs collaborative stakeholders sessions with key stakeholders to ensure they are all on board early on. PMs goal is to get consensus at the end. Meeting 2 / 3.
ProTip: when features start being sent to the priority board each team debates to get their feature (i.e. sales will want the onboarding feature to be up). PM operates with the OKRs and high level mission of the company to explain each feature’s location on the map.
7. PM groups the features onto Themes or Lanes and assigns the timeframe to add to Lattered roadmap.
8. There is a more high-level view of the roadmap — Quarterly release roadmap
ProTip: to collaborate with the stakeholders PMs can use Jira / Confluence with open access to see via the link (i.e. Marketing team will want to access this to see when to launch the marketing campaign).
PMs need to have proper Analytics and Metrics (AM) to track the success of the Feature, so you can react accordingly if it doesn't meet the expectations. This needs to be communicated with the AM Team so they can allocate the resources.
9. There is a more detailed view of the roadmap — Ghant roadmap
This roadmap will show the Epics / Features and the team member working on each Lane / Feature. One can also see the Product backlog with a few clicks.
ProTip: there are many UX type research conducted ahead of the release to see various types of designs and customer feedbacks on them.
Retrospective is a process that helps Product, Engineering and Design Team to analyse what went well in the past sprint and what to improve on. That’s a continuous back-loop to help the team with the velocity.
10.1. Short term vs Long term
10.2. Bugs vs Specific features. Bugs can be priorities on 4 different increments. 1 — immediate (goes to the first sprint), 4 — ux bug
ProTip: Allocate 10–30% buffer into the Sprint for bugs
10.3 Core feature vs “Cool feature to have”
ProTip: How to talk to the CEO on adding a feature? Start with the stakeholder alignment, then move to the consequences, i.e. these features will be pushed back.
If you are to add it, then update the stakeholders on the adjustment.
The product roadmap is
- PMs vision
- it’s the path forward (aligned, prioritised and realistic)
Credit: Hudson Levy, Senior Product Manager, Walmart
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